Show Not Tell

Years ago at a week long live-in creative writing workshop given by the late Australian author Barbara Jefferis, I scribbled what I believed to be a dynamic short story. Proudly I handed it in and waited for the accolades. I was crushed when Barbara said it was simply an outline for a story and that  I needed to  ‘show’ rather than ‘tell.’  With my first non-fiction book, Finding Your Voice, a self-help guide to public speaking it did not matter.  ‘Telling’ was the perfect medium  and I had no trouble wagging my potential literary finger.   But fiction – ah there lies the rub or should I say tell.  In time perseverance rewarded me, having wrote ‘she sat gazing out of the window daydreaming,’ it clicked –  pesky telling again.  I deleted and experimented with the words again.  ‘By the open window, the light etched her profile, her eyes bright, seeing beyond the garden to far off places.’ Wow, why didn’t someone tell me about this before.  She did Mary it’s just it took you a few years to understand. It was good old Winnie Churchill who said ‘ Never ever give up , never ever, ever give up.’ He was right and so was Barbara Jefferis.


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